Reporter POV

I’ve really enjoyed reading Generation Kill because of the character of the reporter. For some reason I am intrigued by the way the soldiers interact with the reporter. In the beginning some of the characters are skeptical towards him but then they warm up to him. But what I want to focus on is how the reporter is portrayed in the series. I think Simon does a good job portraying a man who is from the outside world being taken into a strange unknown world of the Marines. His facial expressions in the series almost mimic the way the viewers respond to what they learn from the series. I must admit that when the soldiers were singing pop songs I laughed at the same time the reporter did. But I wonder what it would be like if Simon had made the viewers the reporter. What if the series was all in Point of View shots? If the soldiers were talking to the camera and the reporters voice responded? I think it would be an interesting way to film the series in and might offer a different experience for the viewers than how the series is filmed. Thoughts?

6 responses to “Reporter POV

  1. Interesting questions. After watching the first few episodes of Generation Kill, I am surprised that Evan Wright does not have more interaction with the men. He is often shown talking to someone, but he never really responds or engages them. I got the impression from the book that he really got to know the soldiers and they got to know him. Perhaps this was a misguided assumption. The reporter character is so quiet that you mostly forget he is there (which is probably the intention). I do, however, enjoy the reminder that this is an inherently biased account of the war.

  2. I am truly dissappointed in the lack of the reporter character in the series. In the book we saw everything through his lens, and it’s strange to be removed from it. I feel like it takes away from the authenticity of the show (whatever that means, I don’t know). As for a POV style, I actually thought that was what I was going to experience from the very beginning (as the reporter character was missing for some time), but I think that style hasn’t seen any success as far as I know, except for in Diving Bell and Butterfly, in which case it was very jarring and internal. I think it doesn’t fit the character of the reporter to be so internal, and thus wouldn’t really work for the series. Afterall, the reporter is just trying to explain things for what they are, not as he sees it.

  3. That is a very interesting idea. Personally, I actually really like the reporter being a character rather than simply having the whole show shot as POV. Yes, it is true that, as cupfjuice, we lose the reporter lens that the book has. However, I actually think that it was important to lose this, as this lens is Wright’s lens, and it may have been difficult for Simon to successfully create this same lens.

  4. Like the other commenters, I find your question about an alternative shooting design intriguing. However, I think that the choice of directors Simon Cellan Jones and Susanna White was wise, as POV cinematography can quickly become tired. What’s more, I think that the insertion of the reporter modeled after Evan Wright is an essential component of the mini-series. As an outsider voluntarily thrown into a vortex of foreign commotion, he is not merely an observer–he himself is a character, actively engaged in the narrative, though a passive spectator of the actual combat. And because he is an embodiment of all of us, American civilians, the series manages to corporeally represent the American public rather than overtly fix us in the role of the journalist through a method that can easily come across as a cheap trick, an irritating contrivance. I think that the fact that you found yourself laughing along with the reporter at the marines’ singing supports the notion that the series succeeds in allowing us to identify with an observer’s perspective in a more subtle manner. I do agree that the reporter could be more heavily emphasized. While the reporter’s quietness may very well be an accurate representation (it seems believable that a level of reticence characterized Wright’s involvement with the marines), at the least, the directors could have presented more shots of the reporter displaying his reaction. Then again, by abstaining from constantly feeding us the reporter’s facial expressions and what have you, perhaps they found a compromise between personifying the camera lens and vivifying the character of the reporter to the extent that we, the viewers, become observers of him in addition to the marines.

  5. sparkling_bears47

    I also wanted to add that personifying the camera lens would remove us even further from the soldiers. If we the audience become the camera, we become the observers of the soldiers in a way that creates a barrier between us and them. We become a person viewing them, instead of the more objective point of view that the usual unseen camera POV provides and that would make it even more difficult to identify with the soldiers as people themselves.

    Still, I think it would make for an incredibly interesting show in and of itself. There could be a lot of play with the idea of soldiers being observed by civilians. But that’s a different story.

  6. I think if your suggestion was employed by Generation Kill it may alter the way the journalist is viewed. Not only would he be writing a journalistic account but visually representing it as well. I disagree with sparkling though. POV would narratively make the televisual space more personable, maybe expediting the ease of inclusion for the reporter into the marines’ collective.